Solar rooftop surges but Indian households not adopting it yet; here’s why

By: | Published: December 10, 2018 3:55 PM

Households accounted just for about 9% of the total rooftop solar capacity recorded this year as compared with commercial and industrial installation consumer segment that dominated with a 70% share.

Rooftop solar capacity: At the current rate, only 38% of the 40GW target can be achieved. (Reuters)

Solar rooftop installations in India continue to set a scorching pace, growing at 75% on-year in the year ended 30 September 2018, but Indian households do not yet seem to be sold on the idea of this cheap and effective renewable energy source. The latest data shows that India added 1,538 MW of solar rooftop installations in 12 months to 30 September, taking the overall rooftop solar capacity of India to about 3.4 gigawatts (GW).

However, most of it came from commercial and industrial buildings, which are increasingly adopting solar panels, according to the renewable energy consultancy firm Bridge to India. Households accounted just for about 9% of the total rooftop solar capacity recorded this year as compared with commercial and industrial installation consumer segment that dominated  with 70% share, it added.

“75% growth in a year plagued by safeguard duty and GST uncertainty is absolutely fantastic. Ongoing fall in module (solar) price should continue to drive growth in the next few years,” Bridge to India MD Vinay Rustagi said. It may be noted that the Prime minister Narendra Modi-led government has set a target of the total grid-connected rooftop solar capacity at 40 GW by 2022. However, at the current rate, only 38% of the 40GW target can be achieved.

Also read: Despite demonetisation pain, commercial property investment at a 10-year high in 2017

“Growth in the residential market lags due to a combination of reasons: high upfront cost, lack of financing options from banks, and most importantly, lack of standard products and customer awareness,” it said in the statement.

The report also showed that the OPEX model, where third-party developers own and develop projects on customer sites, added 559 MW capacity in the past 12 months through September and is growing faster than rest of the market with a share of 35%. On the other hand, CAPEX market, where entire rooftop is owned by rooftop owners, is even getting more fragmented. Top 10 players in CAPEX market had a share of just 18% this year as compared with 21% last year.

Top five states that accounted for 54% of the total market are Maharashtra (473 MW), Tamil Nadu (312 MW), Karnataka (272 MW), Rajasthan (270 MW) and Uttar Pradesh (223 MW). The inverter market is being dominated by Chinese companies, which currently have a share of 43%.

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